Inversion ReviewPublisher: Namco Bandai
, PS3, Xbox 360
UK Price (as reviewed): £22.99 Incl. VAT
UK Price (as reviewed): $39.99 Excl. Tax
Inversion is, by almost every metric I have, a terrible game. It is unfulfilling, thoughtlessly designed, overly reliant on a single (and very flawed) gimmick, poorly written, ugly, uninspired, purposeless and ultimately outclassed by all of its competition.
And if you're expecting the next sentence to start with a 'But...', then you're going to be sorely disappointed.
It actually staggers my mind that it can be so bad in such obvious and fundamental ways, if I'm honest, because at its core is the potential of an alright game. You're a cop in a generic sci-fi future and your world is thrown into chaos when mysterious invaders attack your city, murder your wife and enslave humanity. Cue scenes of carnage as you and your partner escape, turn enemy technology back on its source and attempt to both repel the invaders and find your missing daughter.
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There's nothing wrong with that premise. It's a good premise. A lot of developers could have taken that idea and made something genuinely moving out of it; many more could have at least made sure the action was entertaining enough that the story wouldn't be a huge problem. Inversion's developer, Saber Interactive, manages neither.
Instead, the story is mauled at nearly every possible juncture and there are still huge gaps in the exposition. Characters seem to spontaneously learn that the enemy is called the Lutadore, for example, as well as that their gravity-controlling weapons should be called 'Grav-Link'. Wherever you look there are plotholes and jumps of logic.
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What makes this all the worse though is that this happens even despite Saber's constant interference with the experience. You can't walk ten steps without being pulled into a cutscene which merely foreshadows enemies around the corner or has the hero stumble in the wake of an earthquake. These sorts of interruptions might be warranted in a handful of occasions, but they end up being used constantly and for no reason.
It's bad design; directly and repeatedly meddling with the flow of the game for zero pay-off.
Even the individual components of these interferences are of poor quality too; the voice acting is as greyly bland as the levels you fight through, while the heroes all move as if they were made entirely out of neck. The enemies meanwhile have the must predictable character design; all rusted metal and giant cleavers under their swords, like Gear of War but without the consistent world design.